Reviewed: ‘Artistic and Cultural Exchanges between Europe and Asia’

Posted in books, reviews by Editor on April 4, 2011

Recently added to caa.reviews:

Michael North, ed., Artistic and Cultural Exchanges between Europe and Asia, 1400–1900: Rethinking Markets, Workshops and Collections (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010), 216 pages, ISBN: 9780754669371, $114.95.

Reviewed by David Carrier, Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Institute of Art; posted 24 March 2011.

The necessary precondition for a world art history is the close study of cultural exchanges. Even nowadays, when you can travel from New York to Beijing in less than a day, the distance between America’s and China’s visual cultures is still immense. When such travel was much slower, and curators were not much concerned with exotic art, the diverse artistic traditions were relatively self-sufficient. But once Vasco da Gama circumnavigated the globe, it was inevitable that those artifacts called works of art would move from their places of origin to other cultures. The world had become one, which is to say that all art traditions were interconnected. This, then, is why close analysis of the slow-moving process in which Europeans brought their art to China, India, and other places outside the West, as well as collected non-European art, is extremely important.

“Artistic and Cultural Exchanges between Europe and Asia,” an anthology that collects the proceedings of a conference held in Sydney in 2005, contains an introduction by Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann and Michael North, and essays by Karl-Heinz Spiess on Asian artifacts in Western European courts during the Middle Ages; Peter Borschberg on the trade in Bezour stones, the minerals believed to possess magical properties; Ting Chang on French fantasies about Asia; Martin Krieger on Dutch collecting in colonial India, circa 1800; Alexander Drost on Mughal architecture as it was incorporated into European memorials in seventeenth-century India; North on art making by European companies in Asia; Mia Mochizuki on the uses of Dutch maps in Japan; Kaufmann on markets in Funi-e; and Yoriko Kobayashi-Sato on the relationships between Japan and the West during the Edo period. . . .

The full review is available here» (CAA membership required)

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